Posts Tagged ‘HAPPO’

Are PR Budgets Back?

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Valerie Simon

Money_EyesAt the New York City #HAPPO Hour last week, professionals representing many top public relations agencies were on the lookout for talent. Representatives from firms such as Burson Marstellar, Peppercom, MS&L, Devries PR, and Ruder Finn worked the room, looking to meet potential hires. In fact, the number of professionals in the room, who were wearing badges identifying themselves as an actively hiring employer or mentor, nearly matched the number of job seekers and students.

“In 2009 and 2010, it seemed as though many of the clients we pitched were not ready to make a decision,” commented one NYC agency pro. “Recently, however, it seems like clients are starting to move forward. Whether they pick our agency, or another, they are making a decision.” And as firms gear up to take on new business, finding employees quickly becomes a top priority.

In a recent PRNewser post, Ketchum CEO Ray Kotcher noted an increase in the number of RFPs and account wins floating around. “There’s been a bit of a lift from the economy,” Kotcher said. But he said the “lift” was the normal course of business for this time period as “clients are lining up their comms partners for the coming year. You’re also seeing PR taking on much more importance than it has in the past.”

Kotcher noted three key areas of growth for the PR industry:

  • social media, digital media, and word of mouth
  •  research, measurement, and analytics
  • continued need for corporate and crisis work (particularly in regards to B-to-B, electronics, and established tech companies

Harris Diamond, CEO of IPG’s Constituency Management Group, which houses its PR firms, including GolinHarris, Weber Shandwick, and DeVries Public Relation, also had a positive message to share with PRNewser readers, “We’re just seeing a tremendous focus with companies more and more seeing the wisdom of looking for programs the reach their constituent groups,” he shared, explaining that across all PR businesses, practices, and geographies, business has experienced and continues to experience growth. Diamond pointed out opportunities available for the industry in areas traditionally reserved for advertising specifically, “Mega events,” like the Super Bowl.

As I chatted amongst the attendees at the New York #HAPPO event, I was inspired to hear so many opportunities, but was struck by the sense of urgency. The last few years have resulted in lean staffs, struggling to provide excellence with very limited resources. Businesses have rightfully been cautious in making the investments necessary to embrace growth and opportunity. Headlines such as “Is PR dead?” questioned the very existence of our industry.

I believe the industry is emerging from these tough economic times stronger, and more necessary than ever before. Budgets are returning, but with a heightened sensitivity to the importance of efficiency and a deep understanding of the precious fragility of growth.

Growth will not be without its challenges. Is your organization preparing to hire or add additional resources for your PR efforts? How has the economic downturn impacted the way your organization is allocating resources?

Overcoming Blogger’s Block

Monday, February 7th, 2011

What to blog about? Good IdeaThat is the question I’ve been asking myself for a few days. In my pursuit of a topic for a post, I realized I’m not alone… Writer’s block has always been something that communications professionals, and others, have struggled to overcome. But now that audiences expect instantaneous access to new content and materials via blogs and other social media, it’s becoming even harder to keep up and remain, well, “fresh.”  

In hopes of beating my own blogger’s block, I decided to take a look at some PR resources for inspiration. I’d like to give you some, in case you, too, find yourself in a similar situation.

One: Arik Hanson recapped a blog discussion last November on 24 ways to feed the blog beast. I’ve referred to this list several times. In fact, my BurrellesLuce colleague Valerie Simon has utilized number nine, summarizing various Twitter chats, several times since she leads both the #PRStudChat and #HAPPO chats. I especially like number 20 on using best of posts. This strategy allows me to include information from multiple, valuable sources and give some “link love” to other great blogs.  

Two: My Google Reader is a great resource for searching for topics and other blogs of interests. Josh Braaten, Big Picture Web Marketing, notes this tip in his post, Four Tips for Overcoming Blogging Writer’s Block. He also suggests using Twitter to review hot topics and ask for ideas.

Three: The startup, Skribit claims to be the cure to writer’s block. The application allows you to get feedback and suggestions from readers of your blog. Mashable even highlighted the tool in its Spark of Genius series, and based on the comments, I would give it a try.

Four: I’ve asked my network for ideas. I don’t always use the ideas, but the act of reviewing their ideas often leads to new ones. For this post, I asked Peter Shankman for some  good writers’ karma, because he had tweeted about  how a blog post just came to him and he had a great writing session. And he sent it (the good writer’s karma) my way via DM.

Five: And don’t forget the traditional media! My colleague Tressa Robbins recently wrote a blog post, News in Our Digital Lives: “Old” Media Still Matters, recapping the annual joint meeting of PRSA, IABC, and CSPRC.  Amy Mitchell, deputy director for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism presented some interesting finds, confirming the importance and reliance on traditional news. “In one American city (Baltimore), a whopping 92 percent of new content came from “old” media, proving that the published story is just the beginning of its life cycle.”

How do you get ideas for your blog posts? What themes have resonated with your readers? What topics would you like to see covered on Fresh Ideas?

Using Social Media to Find and Hire The Right PR Talent

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Valerie Simon

An article in US News and World Report earlier this month offered some bright news for the PR industry: “Employment of public-relations specialists is expected to increase by more than 66,000 jobs, or 24 percent, between 2008 and 2018, according to the Labor Department.”

But before we break out the champagne and begin celebrating, organizations must pause and pay serious attention to the tremendous impact individual hires have on the organization; after all, PR is a service and a relationship-based business. PR agencies, such as Coyne PR and Ketchum, understand the critical role their people play in assuring client satisfaction, retention, growth. Consider this:

Coyne Public Relations –  “Our mission is not to be the best agency in America, but the best one to work for. If we are the best place to work, we will get the best people. If we have the best people, we will get the best clients. If we have the best people and clients, how can we not be the best agency in America?”

Ketchum’s Ray Kotcher: “But awards only tell part of the story. What truly makes a difference is our people. Ketchum people aren’t standard PR agency ‘types.’ They are uncommonly curious, smart, and passionate about what they do, and they are the reason for Ketchum’s 80-plus years of success.”

As the economy continues to rebound and employers continue to strive to find ways to connect with future employees, social networking offers those looking to hire an opportunity to get to know potential hires in new and meaningful ways. When Arik Hanson and I founded #HAPPO, earlier this year, our goal was to use social media to leverage our relationships to help those seeking jobs in the PR industry make new connections.  As we approached our December 8th event however, I found an increasing number of employers approaching me, hoping #HAPPO could help them to identify the PR talent their organization needed.

Can a social networking event such as #HAPPO really help connect employers with future employees? While there have been an impressive number of #HAPPO mentions in social media (nearly 30,000 since the effort began February 2010), measuring the effect on outcomes is always preferable to measuring outputs. While it is a challenge to quantify the number of new relationships that have emerged as a result of the effort, we do know that earlier #HAPPO events have resulted in at least five new jobs, including the newest #HAPPO Champion Katie Wall.

As Craig Alerowitz, EVP at Lippe Taylor PR tweeted at the start the most recent event, “I found my last employee through #HAPPO (and she’s terrific)… so just know that it works all.”

Here is a sampling of the tweets from employers who participated as well:

lanes0220: RT @SteveSeeman: #PRjobs @Makovsky is seeking #Health #PR AEs – 6-18 months exp! DM me for info or email #HAPPO

MBoothPR: We are hiring for a number of levels and practice areas! Please send resumes & cover letters to jobs at mbooth dot com

dialogopr: We are hiring #PR Account Exec’s. email

RuderFinn: Check here for open positions at our agency

englishyoung: GolinHarris is looking for a SAE and VP in Arlington VA:

It is clear that the talents of skilled communications professionals are in demand. And if the US News and World Report is right – there will only be more to come. So, how are you using social media to connect with and build relationships? Have you had success using social media to drive awareness of a campaign or cause? Tell us how. What direction do you see PR, marketing, and social media going in for 2011? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

Why It Pays to be the Influencer for Sales and Retention Efforts

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

by Emily Mouyeos*

Influence marketing is beginning to showcase itself as an effective tool in social media strategies. Companies such as Starbucks and Virgin America have partnered with Klout , a startup that measures influence on Twitter, to identify influencing social media users. The criteria used to identify key influencers include more than 25 variables used to measure “true reach,” “amplification probability,” and “network score.” Klout’s website explains that, “The size of the sphere is calculated by measuring True Reach (engaged followers and friends vs. spam bots, dead accounts, etc.). Amplification Probability is the likelihood that messages will generate retweets or spark a conversation. If the user’s engaged followers are highly influential, they’ll have a high Network Score.”

The examples of Starbucks and Virgin America shows how companies are reaching out to find influencers to (in the words of Frank Sinatra) “start spreading the news” or share their valued opinion on a product or service. However, it can be just as important for the company to be the influencer, especially in B-to-B marketing. Being an influencer means you need to create a following (True Reach), have smart and interesting things to say (Amplification Probability) and connect with other shakers and movers (Network Score.)

This article, appearing on The Drum, offers some tips for effective influencer marketing,  among them: 

  1. Focus on the Influencer.
  2. Focus on Transactions.
  3. Focus on the Story, not the pay-off.
  4. Measure what counts.

If want to become an influencer then scoring high in these areas will pay off for your sales and retention efforts. If people come to know and like you, they will want to buy from you. Co-founder of influencer marketing company Pursway, Ran Shaul states, “The fundamental marketing challenge today is more strategic than tactical. Numerous studies all draw the same conclusion – the majority of people buy based on the conversation and recommendations of trusted friends, family members, colleagues and, increasingly, online reviewers.”

klout happo 2

He then goes on to cite Nielsen’s latest Global Online Consumer Survey, which revealed that out of over 25,000 Internet consumers, from 50 countries, “90 percent of consumers surveyed said they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70 trust consumer opinions posted online.” Incidentally, 70 percent of consumers surveyed also indicated that they “trusted brand websites completely or somewhat.” With 64 percent listing that they trust “brand sponsorships.”

How does this translate to sales and retention efforts? Becoming the influencer (directly or indirectly) gives you direct connection to potential clients who will remember you when they are looking to buy. These types of relationships increase brand awareness and prove you are a trusted advisor through thought leadership. Potential clients plugged into the industry chatter will know who you are and what you are about. Social Media has made it incredibly easy to share information. You no longer have to write a book to be considered an expert or impact the community.

As an example, I loved watching the phenomenal initiative; “Help A PR Pro Out” (HAPPO) impact the PR community. The campaign partnered together “PR Pros” with recent graduates looking for jobs in this tough economy. It may not have been the intent of the co-founders, Arik Hanson, ACH Communications, and Valerie Simon, BurrellesLuce, but they instantly became industry influencers to the young generation of PR professionals. You better believe that the college graduates will look to them for future partnerships and will one day become influencers themselves, not to mention the group of current PR influencers HAPPO was able to group together. I think the HAPPO campaign hit all of the “high scoring” variables used by Klout on the head. They created a strong following of PR pros and college graduates, gave out incredibly valuable information and gathered together the PR industries current and future influencers.

Do you know of any influence marketing campaigns where the influencer is the actual company? What are potential pitfalls to a company striving to be an intentional influencer? 


*Bio: Emily Mouyeos joined the BurrellesLuce account management team with a background in nonprofit communication and development. Her background and current experience with BurrellesLuce allows her to effectively address client needs and consolidate feedback for senior management. To Emily, nothing feels better than helping others achieve their goal, whether it’s professionally or personally.  By focusing on client management through the Fresh Ideas blog, she hopes to evaluate new client management trends, as well as provide insight to the pros and cons of current practices. She looks forward to connecting with the readers of Fresh Ideas for new perspectives and dialogue on issues that affect overall success. LinkedIn: Emily Mouyeos Twitter: @BurrellesLuce Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Building a Successful PR Community Online: Learning to Ask for Help

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Building a Community Online

Valerie Simon

Earlier this week, digital strategist Arik Hanson and I had the pleasure of sharing our experience of building the #HAPPO (HelpAPRProOut) community during a BurrellesLuce webinar on “How to Build A Successful Community Online.” After sharing the lengthy list of PR industry leaders who serve as champions for the initiative and stories about the many industry organizations, publications, and resources that provided support for the event, one of our listeners offered a very interesting question, “How do you ask for help?”

And although I’ve never been shy about asking, upon reflection I realized that I do have three key criteria that must be met before asking influencers to team-up with me for an initiative.

1.      Passion:  Whether it is a sales pitch, a media pitch, an attempt to solicit volunteers… if you are asking someone else to make a commitment or investment, passion is a powerful tool. Genuine and sincere enthusiasm can be contagious.

2.      Relationship: My mom always told me not to talk to strangers. I apply that lesson here and don’t pitch to people whom I don’t know. And, no, the time to build a relationship is not when you are looking to get something. Always pay it forward and strive to be an excellent resource. Trust is something you build. Then, when you have something worth asking, you’re reputation will assure people listen.

3.      Respect: I’m extremely mindful that other people have their own goals, agendas, deadlines, and pressures. I make a concerted effort to acknowledge this and frame my pitch in a way that will make it as easy as possible for them to say, “Yes.” One way is by using the communication tools that they are most comfortable with when reaching out. And, for goodness sake, remember to say, “Please” and “Thank You.”

Finally, what is the real secret to successful “asking?” In my humble opinion, as long as you can meet the criteria above, the most important tip is simple: get over your fear of rejection and just reach out.

Does asking for help make you uncomfortable? What suggestions can you offer the community?